According to guitarist Joe Walsh, former Eagles guitarist and co-founder Bernie Leadon will join the group on their upcoming History of the Eagles tour. “Bernie’s brilliant,” Walsh told Billboard. “I never really got a chance to play with him, but we’ve been in contact. We see him from time to time, and I’m really glad he’s coming because it’s going to take the show up a notch, and I’m really looking forward to playing with him, finally.”
Walsh didn’t get into detail, but he implied that Leadon will only perform material from his time in the band. “There’ll be part of the show that doesn’t involve me,” he said. “But I may come out and play some James Gang stuff as part of the show, just to show what I was doing when ‘Witchy Woman’ came out. We don’t have that down yet.”
The Eagles have yet to confirm that Leadon will be returning, and it’s unclear whether former bassist Randy Meisner or former guitarist Don Felder will be involved with the tour in any capacity. Relations with Felder are extremely strained, and Meisner has been largely inactive from the rock scene over the past few years.
Leadon is also a former member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and he played with the Eagles from their inception in 1971 through 1975. He cowrote some of their early hits, including “Witchy Woman,” but left when the group turned away from their country-rock roots. He was also butting heads with Glenn Frey. “I just wanted some time to regroup,” Leadon told Rolling Stone in 2008. “I suggested we take some time off. They weren’t excited about that idea.”
During one particularly heated fight, Leadon poured a beer on Glenn Frey’s head. Not long after that, he was replaced by Walsh. “I don’t regret any of it,” he said. “It was a great time in my life, but everything since then has been great, too. What’s funny is that a year after I left, they did wind up taking a long break.”
All seven Eagles performed at the band’s 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that marked the only occasion that former members were invited to play with the band. “They came to Los Angeles for a show a few years ago and I asked if I could sit in,” Meisner told Rolling Stone in 2008. “I didn’t get much response. I thought it would be nice to sit in with [current bassist] Timothy B. Schmit and sing ‘Take It to the Limit,’ but they pretty much gave me a ‘no’ in a round-about way. I can’t blame them. They have to keep their band the way it is.”
Update: A spokesperson for the Eagles says Leadon and other details regarding the tour are “in discussion.”